In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul confirmed his support for Israel, but cautioned that while the United States should be a “friend” of the Jewish state, America should not be the “master” of Israel.
Paul also says the United States should not dictate Israel’s borders or try to “buy her allegiance” with massive amounts of foreign aid. He argued that foreign aid has actually hurt – not helped – the Jewish state.
The interview was conducted by Newsmax contributor Doug Wead, a presidential historian and New York Times best-selling author.
Paul has recently come under fire from some Jewish groups in America. The Republican Jewish Coalition banned Paul from a debate on Jewish issues in Washington this week because of his “misguided and extreme views,” according to the group’s executive director, Matt Brooks.
Newsmax chatted with Paul to get his side of the issue as the Texas Republican is surging in some presidential polls.
A new Washington Post-ABC News survey in Iowa shows him threatening Mitt Romney as the second-leading candidate behind Newt Gingrich. Paul is now tied with Romney in the early caucus state with 18 percent of the vote, behind Gingrich’s 33 percent.
Rep. Paul’s interview with Newsmax follows:
Newsmax: What should our relationship be with Israel?
We should be their friend and their trading partner. They are a democracy and we share many values with them. But we should not be their master. We should not dictate where their borders will be nor should we have veto power over their foreign policy.
This is not just about Israel, by the way, this is about how we should conduct ourselves with other countries around the world.
Newsmax: But Israel is not like other countries. We have a large Jewish population in America. What do you say to those who criticize your policy toward Israel?
I think that some not only misunderstand the American Constitution and the role we should have in the world, they also misunderstand Zionism. Part of the original idea of Zionism, as I understand it, was that there should be Jewish independence and Jewish self-reliance. Today, America doesn’t want anyone to be self-reliant. We want to rule the world and be the saviors of the world and we are going broke in the process.
Newsmax: Some object to your policy of cutting foreign aid to Israel.
I have objected to all foreign aid. I define foreign aid as taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries. We just can’t keep doing this. We don’t have the money anymore.
Stop and consider America’s policy: We give $3 billion a year to Israel in loans; and we give $12 billion or more in assistance to Israel’s self-declared enemies. Some of these are countries that say they will drive Israel into the sea.
Newsmax: What do you say to evangelical Christians who want that aid to continue?
I say to them that our aid in the region is out of balance and it is wrong. Foreign aid does not help Israel. It is a net disadvantage. I say to them that “the borrower is servant to the lender” and America should never be the master of Israel and its fate. We should be her friend.
In October, 1981, most of the world and most of the Congress voiced outrage over Israel’s attack on Iraq and their nuclear development. I was one of the few who defended her right to make her own decisions on foreign policy and to act in her own self-interest.
Newsmax: What then, if anything, should we do for Israel?
We should share intelligence for mutually agreed-upon goals. We should honor our pledge to refuse any arms sales that would undermine Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.
But we should stop interfering with them. We should not announce bargaining positions even before she begins her negotiations. We should not dictate what she can and cannot do. We should stop trying to buy her allegiance. And Israel should stop sacrificing their sovereignty as an independent state to us or anybody else, no matter how well-intentioned.
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